Jura 1971



Leader: Charles Hooper


Officers:  Chris Lumsden,  Chris Hague-Smith,  David Vale, David Mark,  Eddie Stuart.

Boys: Anthony Carnwarth, Stephen Arnold, Simon Barker, Timothy Jeans, Julian Garrish, Andrew Lambert, Anthony Bowker, Alan Beany, Adam Courlander, Richard Ritter,

Charles Runacres,  Stephen Morgan, Mark Creamer,  Paul Dinkenor,  Rodney Fawcett, Jonathan Lord, Tim Thompson,  Martin Turff, Richard Friend,  Paul Cowland, 

James Doyle, Mark Hall, Jonathan Shirley, Jeremy Stock, Richard Green, John Parrott, Stephen Hedley, Nicholas Hanson, Howard Lucas, Jeremy Turff.


Cruib Lodge, tucked below Beinn Cruib, with a fine view across Loch Tarbert to the Paps, proved, despite its somewhat difficult access, to be an excellent site for our diverse and relaxed Expedition. We are greatly indebted to Commander Walkey, the British Military Attache in Bangkok, and to lain Maclnnes and his colleagues for shipping our multitudinous gear from the head of the loch to Cruib on the first evening of the Expedition.  (Eddie, despite his bland assurances, might, I think, have been under pressure to match this feat in the unpredictable ROCK BOTTOM).

Although there were almost forty members of the Expedit­ion, we often had only about half that number in camp, the rest being away on various bivouacs ... to the East Coast, searching for cup marks with Dave Mark, or to the Coire Vrechan (the renowned whirlpool) with Chris Hague-Smith .... to the West to unearth the Stone Age with John Mercer ... and I must not forget the four birdmen who took to a wee isle in the loch for a couple of days.


The first plan of these ornithologists was to carry out a comprehensive survey of one hundred square kilometres of Jura. Then a sudden modesty changed the survey area to an island of only a few square metres.  Only when they were persuaded that this island would be covered by high spring tides did they move on to a larger island where their presence would not cause a total emigration of the entire bird community.

Poor weather, and a more than slightly leaking tent, dis­couraged Chris Lumsden from his planned bivouac to the Paps, but these splendid three peaks were scaled one morning by five of the more energetic amongst us, whilst those least energetic in camp were writing rude songs about climbers getting lost in the mist - which, of course, was inconceivable.

For those who have yet to realise the art of Shoubling, which I mentioned in the pre-Expedition circular, it is surely the ability to find joy in that which is seemingly unpleasant, such as the long trek buck from the Island Sports at Ardlussa, when it was wet and late and we were very tired. Unfortunately, despite the evening practices, we were unable to relieve Mrs Nelson of her cup by winning the Tug o’ War, the apex of the Sports.

In the evenings, too, when the campfire was lit, we sang with Chris Lumsden or joined in the action songs of Chris Hague-Smith. Occasionally, we listened to the idiosyncratic Dave Mark reading from 'Winnie the Pooh'.  Late on the last night, a witness is supposed to have observed a mob of unruly boys chanting

View from Torran Mhór above Craighouse   © Copyright Andrew Curtis

The scrub and trees have grown rapidly around the viewpoint since deer were excluded. Two of the Paps of Jura can be seen left and centre with the lower Corra Bheinn on their right.


"Grigola, Grigaloo!

Come out and fight, yer cowardly crew.'" etc.

as they surrounded the loft in which their respected leader was sleeping. A ladder is said to have disappeared, but all intelligent readers will, I am sure, doubt the integrity of any person to tell such an unlikely story!

I was very happy about the way in which the Expedition developed, believing it was enjoyed by most (if not all) of its members. We rock-climbed, we canoed, we searched for plants and antlers, birds and pollutants; we bailed out ROCK BOTTOM, we rolled barrels and won football matches; we learnt songs and sketched and played instruments; we drank tea with friendly islanders; we mistook the word 'venison1 for 'vermin'.

And, to complete a happy Expedition, we gave a tremendous concert in Craighouse Hall, with the hope that in a small way we could repay the very great hospitality we received from Jura and its people.




Craighouse: approaching from the south

Approaching the village of Craighouse, past the rear of the Jura Hotel.


Aug 2008

© Copyright Chris Downer

Chris Lumsden contacted me on 12/08/2013 with some of his memories of Jura '71 - thanks for these Chris.

Re the Jura expedition, I would mention:
- the "Highland Games" at the end of the road north, in the garden of a house allegedly owned by the Collins family of publishers, where another prop forward and I in jeans and climbing boots came second in the three-legged race to a pair of skinny athletes in shorts and running shoes, and mis-hearing the lady selling venison sandwiches, a Manchester Grammar schoolboy asked his friend if he would care to share a "vermin sandwich";
- the appearance of a 12-or 14- point stag above the camp on Loch Tarbert, in Lanseer pose, silhouetted against a large "Harvest" moon and its barking for a good quarter hour;
- meeting a somewhat scruffy looking individual in the back of a Land Rover, after trailing a deer stalker and a ghillie over a few miles of rough country, with the bodies of the culled young males and an old stag under our feet, and sharing a McEwans Export and a venison sandwich with him, only to be informed by the ghillie that it was Lord Astor, owner of the land we were camping on and much else indeed;
- the return of a couple of the boys from a three-day stay at an archaeological dig at Ruantallain, looking as if it was them, not the "finds", which had been dug up; 
- my solo visit, after the trip, to the northern-most tip of the island to see the whirlpool "Corryvrekkan";
- the concert we gave in Craighouse on the last night and the song I wrote in just an hour the next morning called "Jura Lament", as the sun rose behind Tarbert across the Sound.
Magical days!
Having seen the Uist report on your website, I assume you have a copy of the relative Report for Jura, from the leader Charles Hopper and others? It includes a copy of my song, which may explain my planned trip back earlier this year. I regret that, through illness, my guitar playing days are long past, but I remember still with pleasure John Cullingford's playing on Uist and the evenings I accompanied the "singers" on Jura. (I put them in quotes, as some voices were, shall we say, not as good as others?)
With best wishes & regards
Chris Lumsden


The song is in the 1971 S.H.S report (p60) as the 'Jura Lament' but I have also reproduced it here. [Use browser back button from report to return here]


I wish to return

On a clear and warm summer's day,

And the Sound as calm as a lily-pool.

On Jura my heart remains.


I wish to return

On a cold and bluff winter's morn,

With the sun arising over Argyll

And the clouds brushed away by the storm.


I wish to return

With the brightness and hurry of Spring,

And the birds returning away from the South

Showing the summer days in.



I wish to return

In the gold and red autumn light ...

Can you hear the lilt of the Western Isles

Calling from out of the night?


I cannot return

Until my wandering's done;

But my spirit remains and wanders the hills

And waits for the day I shall come.


I will return

To this most beautiful isle,

For its magic has caught me and won't let me go

Till on Jura again I can smile.